People ask me all the time if I still take cod liver oil. The answer is yes! In this post, I cover the top 5 reasons to take cod liver oil.
Please note: There are affiliate links in this post. However, I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.
Top 5 Reasons to Take Cod Liver Oil
I have recommended cod liver oil ever since I started this blog in 2007. And then the FCLO scandal started brewing in 2012, and I stopped buying and recommending fermented cod liver oil.
After Dr. Kaayla Daniel's whistleblower report came out last year in 2015, I did an comprehensive series of posts and videos about FCLO. Last month, I wrote my post on how to choose cod liver oil. In that post, I didn't really get into all the reasons I recommend taking cod liver oil. If you want to know why you should take cod liver oil, that's what I'll cover in this post.
1. Omega-3s Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is at the root of most degenerative disease. Most Americans have the wrong ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in our diet, which is one of the main causes of inflammation:
“Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) of approximately 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is 15/1-16.7/1” (Source: PubMed)
In other words, we are eating 15-16 times more omega-6s than omega-3s. This is due mainly to modern industrial vegetable oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Look on the label of those tortilla chips you're eating. Most likely you'll see one of these.
Improving your ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. Omega-3s make up our cell membranes. They also help make hormones that regulate our blood, heart, and genes. For these reasons, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as young children.
According to the Harvard School of Health, omega-3s help to “prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.”
Cod liver oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Eating lots of fatty fish like salmon and sardines, and grass-fed meat and dairy also help to improve the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s.
On a personal note, when I am taking cod liver oil and eating lots of seafood, I don't get a sunburn. In fact, on a recent trip to Hawaii, I was taking cod liver oil daily and eating seafood 2-3 times per day. Normally I get a sunburn, but on this trip I didn't even turn pink even though I was outside in a convertible or snorkeling all day long. My husband had the same experience.
I know we are not alone in this, because I've seen a lot on the internet about omega-3s providing skin protection from UV rays, including this study that found that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may protect against skin cancer. (Bonus! If you can stay in the sun longer without burning, you can soak up more UVB rays and make more vitamin D.)
You could eat seafood or take fish oil for omega-3s, but there are benefits specific to cod liver oil as I will discuss in the next two bullets.
2. Vitamin A for Immunity, Autism and Eyesight
Vitamin A also reduces oxidative stress (also known as free radical damage) which means it also reduces inflammation.
In addition to that, vitamin A is really important for immunity. In other words, it helps you fight illness. In fact, measles is not fatal for people who have adequate levels of vitamin A — and in fact, it's harder to catch diseases like measles when you get enough vitamin A. According to the World Health Organization, “In populations with high levels of malnutrition and a lack of adequate health care, up to 10% of measles cases result in death.” (Source)
Vitamin A is also critical for children on the autism spectrum. Dr. Mary Megson has reported astounding results with cod liver oil and autistic children. Watch the video below — she talks about how a non-verbal 9-year-old child got his language back within a matter of weeks with cod liver oil:
Read more from Dr. Megson on cod liver oil and the benefits of vitamin A for autistic spectrum children.
Vitamin A also helps to improve eyesight. In fact, babies with inadequate vitamin A are commonly born blind in impoverished countries. The World Health Organization says that “Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children.”
In the link from Dr. Megason, she talks about how vitamin A can improve autistic children's eyesight.
If vitamin A can prevent blindness and improve the vision of autistic children, what could it do for other people with vision problems? I have one friend who stopped wearing his reading glasses after taking cod liver oil for 6 months. Granted, that's one person (N of 1), but I'm gonna give it a shot.
3. Vitamin D for Brain Chemistry, Immunity, Healthy Bones and Teeth
Vitamin D is essential for proper neurotransmitter functioning (the “feel-good” brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine), heart health and, here it is again, protection against inflammation.
Vitamin D also helps the body utilize calcium, which helps to build healthy bones and teeth and prevent osteoporosis and cavities.
Vitamin D has also been shown to help prevent cancer. (Source: PubMed)
The best source of vitamin D is the UVB rays from the sun… but most of us just don't get enough sun exposure. We're indoors most of the time, and even if we are outdoors, we're wearing clothing and sunscreen. Older people, overweight people, and people with darker skin take longer to make vitamin D from the sun. And if you live at a latitude north of 35, it's literally impossible to make vitamin D from the sun during winter months.
Cod liver oil is one of the best natural sources of vitamin D. That's if you're taking EVCLO like I recommend, which contains real vitamin D from the fish, not added vitamin D3 from lanolin — read more about this in my post comparing cod liver oil brands.
4. Prevents Heart Disease
It is common knowledge in the medical community these days that omega-3s (see above) help to prevent heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, “If you're worried about heart disease, eating one to two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack.”
5. Prevents Diabetes
Cod liver oil can help lower the risk of diabetes according to this study.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:
“People with diabetes often have high triglyceride and low HDL levels. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides and apoproteins (markers of diabetes), and raise HDL. So eating foods or taking fish oil supplements may help people with diabetes. Another type of omega-3 fatty acid, ALA (from flaxseed, for example) may not have the same benefit as fish oil.”
Cod Liver Oil Brands I Recommend
Not all brands of cod liver oil are the same. The only brand of cod liver oil I recommend is Rosita EVCLO (extra virgin cod liver oil.
Rosita makes liquid cod liver oil and softgels. It is not sold in stores but you can order online. If you buy two bottles, you get free shipping. Click here to order Rosita EVCLO.
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Photo Credits: Eyeglasses with Vision Chart